Blight on Tomatoes

Hello Everyone!  I hope you have been having fun and loving life since last we spoke.

The topic of discussion today is tomatoes, more specifically late season blight.  It is slowing killing my tomato plants though I think they may yet be salvageable.  It is, apparently, a very common problem in gardens and on farms.

CAM00593 CAM00591

I began to notice the dark brown spots on the leaves and fruits a couple of weeks ago.  As first I thought it was a result of too much water, since it had rained so much recently.  I soon discovered this was not the case.

Blight is a fungal infection (according to my research) which begins at the base of the plant and travels upward as the season progresses.  It affects the leaves first and eventually the fruit.  The fungal spores overwinter in the ground and are splashed onto the plants by watering.  It is for this reason that you should take care when watering tomatoes not to water the leaves, but the base of the plant.  The fungus needs wet leaves to be able to enter the leaf tissue.

You can help protect your tomatoes from blight by:

  1. Selecting healthy, stocky plants
  2. Rotating your crops so that you don’t plant them in the same place for 3-4 years(This can be difficult in small gardens)
  3. Space plants at least 3 feet apart.  This allows for good air circulation between plants.
  4. Grow your tomatoes in wire cages.  This keeps them off the ground and makes them less susceptible to the spores.  You can buy wire cages from a garden store or make them yourself if you are a DIY type of person.
  5. Use 2-3 inches of mulch made of dry leaves, dry grass clippings or straw around each plant starting in early June.  This helps to prevent splash back.
  6. Avoid wetting the tomato foliage when watering.
  7. Apply fungicides if needed.

I had no idea what is was when the blight first appeared on my plants and I had to go online to find the answers.  I got my information from the following websites and all credit goes to the individuals who maintain them.  I merely paraphrased it here.  Please click the links for more complete information.

http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1996/4-26-1996/tomato.html

https://extension.umass.edu/vegetable/articles/recognizing-tomato-blights

http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/plantpath/extension/fact_sheets/Tomato_-_Field_Staked_-_Late_Blight.htm

I hope that this proves useful to you and that your gardens are faring better than mine.

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4 thoughts on “Blight on Tomatoes

  1. Very helpful information! My tomato season is over now. 😦 It wasn’t my best year. We had a very late spring and an early fall. I was only put up a dozen quarts and a dozen pints.

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